U.S. dairy exports set record highs last year, and if trends continue, exports could exceed last year’s records, according to the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC).

In 2004, U.S. dairy exports totaled $1.49 billion ─ up 39 percent versus 2003, according to USDEC. By volume, exports were up in most major product categories. On an aggregate volume basis, U.S. suppliers exported a record-high 1.562 billion pounds of total milk solids in 2004 ─ up 31 percent from 2003.

U.S. dairy exports are on track to break 2004 records. From January through July 2005, the value and volume of U.S. dairy exports in most categories were well above year-ago levels, according to USDEC.

“The strong growth illustrates that exports are no longer an incidental part of the industry, but a profitable, growing outlet for an increasing U.S. milk supply,” said Tom Suber, president of USDEC.

Exports represented more than 7 percent of U.S. milk production in 2004 and one of every 3 pounds of new milk solids was sold internationally during the past four years. “In the future, worldwide demand for dairy is expected to outpace supply and that could translate to growth opportunities for the U.S. dairy industry and offer dairy producers a long-term value in their checkoff investment to build export markets,” Suber said.

Dairy Management Inc.; U.S. Dairy Export Council